In a memo addressed to senior officials at the UK's Foreign Office sent out earlier this week, Permanent Undersecretary of State Sir Simon MacDonald reportedly asked department directors to tell their staff not to feed Palmerston, the black and white tomcat who assumed office in April 2016 to keep tabs on mouse control at the King Charles Street building.
Sources close to the matter told British media that while staff had not actually noticed any change to Palmerston's waistline, senior officials' concern over the cat's possible overeating has led to speculation that his mouse catching skills had dropped off. A Foreign Office spokesperson confirmed that the memo had been sent.
Named after nineteenth century British statesman Lord Palmerston, Palmerston the cat was taken in by the Foreign Office from the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home animal shelter in 2016, establishing the position of Chief Mouser for Britain's ministry of foreign affairs. Palmerston caught his first mouse in May 2016, and as of September 2017, has caught at least 26 more.
Palmerston the cat has faced repeated altercations with Larry, the chief mouser to 10 Downing Street, getting into a literal cat-fight with him in 2016, and being held up as an example of how a real mouser should operate, with Larry facing media criticism for being 'lazy'.